Mayor of town where Keystone XL would begin speaks out

Hardisty, Alta. Mayor Anita Miller says TransCanada's move to temporarily suspend its application is 'really unfortunate'

HARDISTY, Alta. – The mayor of the southeast Alberta community where the Keystone XL pipeline would begin says news that TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) has asked the U.S. government to temporarily suspend its application comes as a blow.

Anita Miller calls the move “really unfortunate” and says it’s going to affect “lots and lots of people” in Hardisty, Alta., particularly in support businesses such as gas stations, hotels and restaurants.

But she says luckily, Keystone is not the only game in town and while activity has slowed down, there is still construction and expansion in the Hardisty area’s oil and gas industry.

In fact, TransCanada is just one of nine oil companies working in and around the town, which has 700 permanent residents along with 250 oil industry workers, though that number used to be 500 when oil prices were high.

Premier Rachel Notley says in a statement that TransCanada is taking a step they feel is appropriate, given the nature of their application before the State Department.

She says her government’s focus is to spend time building relationships to promote projects “that have the best chance at success.”

She also says her government wants to improve the province’s environmental record in order to build support for Alberta products in markets that are not available at the moment.

Keystone XL would carry crude oil along a 1,897-kilometre pipeline from Hardisty to Steele City, Neb., where it would link up with other pipelines that run to the Gulf Coast and the U.S. Midwest.

It would carry an average of 830,000 barrels of oil per day to American refineries. Proponents have long suggested it would lessen American reliance on oil from the Mideast while creating thousands of jobs. But opponents have argued it would be an environmental disaster and have suggested its economic impact has been overstated.

In May 2012, TransCanada filed a new application for a presidential permit — a requirement for any cross-border pipeline — after the U.S. State Department denied its first application.

Earlier this year, the State Department put off its decision again, pending the outcome of a court fight in Nebraska over the proposed route.

On Monday, TransCanada sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry asking the American administration to delay its decision on a border-crossing permit, pending an ongoing dispute in Nebraska over the route.

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